Hogs For The Holidays

Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino, his staff and his players will get in an early morning practice and then enjoy a Thanksgiving meal together, which has become a much loved tradition for the Razorbacks as they always play LSU on this weekend.

As one of the featured SEC teams on Thanksgiving weekend, Arkansas' players do not get to go home for the holiday.

But ahead of Saturday's game with LSU, they do get together for a huge meal as brothers according to senior tight end D.J. Williams.

"The past four years I have had Thanksgiving with a hundred of my brothers and we are going to do it again and it is going to be a fun experience," Williams said. "I'm hoping we get a little pecan pie mixed in with a little pumpkin pie and hopefully my aunt Viv will send down some macaroni and cheese."

Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino likes to get his team's preparation of the way early Thanksgiving morning so the group can have their meal and some free time.

"We do it is as a team," Petrino said. "We get up early and get our meetings done and practice in the morning. Then we will have a Thanksgiving dinner together at lunch as a team with all of our coaches' and staff's families. Then were are going to give them the afternoon and night off and I am going to celebrate the rest of the day with my family."

Asked what he was thankful for this season, Petrino didn't have to think long.

"I have a lot of things to be thankful for, but first and foremost I am thankful for our military," Petrino said. "We have guys that sacrifice so we can do what we love to do and the freedom that we have in the United States is unbelievable."

Arkansas senior offensive lineman DeMarcus Love plans to enjoy one last Thanksgiving with his teammates.

"It feels good to be with my teammates for the last time," Love said. "We are going down to Little Rock and it's the last home game. I am looking forward to it."

Junior defensive end Jake Bequette, whose Little Rock Catholic high school teams played their home games at War Memorial, echoed those sentiments.

He also talked about how much he is looking forward to the game, billed as The Battle for the Boot. The trophy is awarded to the victor each year and housed on their campus until the next meeting.

"I grew up with this rivalry and it is very special for me to play in it now, especially in a game of this caliber," Bequette said. "It means a lot a lot to both teams with the outcome. I think we are going to come out and put on a show."

Bequette admitted he had a bird's eye view for one of the biggest plays ever in the series – a pass from Matt Jones to DeCori Birmingham on Nov. 29, 2002 that was dubbed the Miracle on Markham after the Razorbacks won, 21-20.

The Razorbacks had 34 seconds to drive 81 yards and did it with nine seconds to spare when Jones hit Birmingham on a 31-yard touchdown pass after what had been a woeful day for the Arkansas offense.

"I was actually on the field for the Miracle on Markham," Bequette said. "I could have reached out and picked off that pass if DeCori Birmingham wasn't there. That was a pretty cool moment. Also when London (Crawford) caught that pass two years ago and won the game for us. Any time you win The Boot, that is a big deal."

Bequette and Arkansas junior quarterback Ryan Mallett could be playing their last home for the Razorbacks if they decide to enter the NFL draft.

Williams knows it's his last time in a home game and he is happy to be doing it in his hometown.

"I expect it to be a little bit emotional on my part, but I will keep in under wraps," Williams said. "Once again (as in his last Fayetteville game), my mom is probably going to be crying, but what better way to go out than in my home town."

He's also fired up about the importance of the game with BCS bowl implications.

"I know the fans are going to be great, the stadium is going to be rocking and the whole state is going to be behind us," Williams said. "For us it is a way to end our regular season with a statement against a great team like LSU.

"It is just going to be another showdown and we are expecting them to come here and play another great game because the past four years that is how it has been," Williams added. "It is going to be something great to be a part of."


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